Itchy eyes, runny nose, uncontrollable sneezing - it’s that time of year again when hay fever and allergens strike! We all enjoy the longer days and warmer nights that spring brings, but the onslaught of hay fever symptoms? Not so much. In this blog, we share what causes hay fever as well as how to prevent any triggers from lurking in your home.
What causes hay fever?
According to the NHS, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, which is a fine powder distributed from plants, grass and flowers. Symptoms of hay fever can include a runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, headaches, coughing, and sneezing. Unfortunately, unlike symptoms of a cold, which usually disappear after one or two weeks, hay fever can last for weeks or even months!
Why do some people get hay fever and others don’t?
People experience hay fever in different ways. For example, some may be affected by a particular type of pollen such as flower pollen and will only experience hay fever symptoms while the flowers are in bloom. Other people may be more sensitive to fungal spores and, some people can experience hay fever symptoms all year round.
However, not all people will experience hay fever. In fact, some lucky few may never experience it! That being said, it is possible to develop hay fever in later life. The opposite can be true as well - if you have had hay fever as a child you can grow out of it as you get older as your immune system develops.
There are many theories why some people experience hay fever and not others however, none have been conclusively proven by science. Some theories suggest that genetics play a part while others believe that a hampered immune system is to blame.
If you do experience hay fever one of the major concerns is what you can do to limit symptoms and prevent pollen from getting into your home. Below we share our top tips to help pollen-proof your home to prevent hay fever symptoms from taking hold.
1) Clean regularly
This one goes without saying really, but it’s important not to underestimate the importance of regular cleaning! Cleaning your home and surfaces regularly will not only remove any pollen that has made their way into your home, but it will also sanitise surfaces and prevent germs from spreading. Check out this article for tips to make house cleaning quick and easy.
It’s always a good idea to give your clothes a wash if you have spent any time outdoors during hay fever season. This helps to prevent pollen stuck to your clothing from triggering your hay fever symptoms at home. Be sure not to hang your clothes up to dry outside! Hanging your washing up outside gives pollen spores the opportunity to stick to your freshly washed clothing all over again.
2) Don’t leave the windows open
You may be inclined to reject the idea of keeping your windows closed during spring and summer, however, if you suffer from severe hay fever you may want to reconsider. You aren’t just letting in fresh air - you’re also allowing the wind to carry pollen spores right through your window. These spores can then linger throughout the home offsetting hay fever symptoms.
3) Beware of chemically pumped cleaning products
Did you know that some cleaning products can act as an irritant to your hay fever symptoms? Many cleaning products can trigger severe allergic reactions especially if they are filled with lots of chemical ingredients. This means that you could be unintentionally aggravating your symptoms during the cleaning process.
If you are looking for a friendlier alternative, our range of cleaning products are specially formulated without the use of bleach or ammonia. Wet & Forget Indoor is an indoor cleaning solution that is perfect for tackling multiple surfaces to help remove stray pollen spores.
4) Shower after spending time outdoors
Try to shower after spending time outdoors. This will help to prevent pollen from sticking to your clothes, hair and skin triggering your hay fever. Don’t forget to put the clothes you wore straight into the washing machine to prevent rewearing clothes that could have pollen stuck to them.
Be sure to wipe down the bathroom after you’ve showered to help clean up lingering pollen. Regularly cleaning your bathroom will also help to minimise and eradicate any mould buildup. Did you know that mould can contribute to hay fever symptoms? Mould spores can get into your nose and cause similar symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion and dry skin.
If you’re not sure whether you’ve cleaned all the areas that pollen or mould can hide in check out our bathroom cleaning checklist to target those sneaky spots!
5) Use a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers make your home less hospitable for allergens such as mould, pollen, mildew and dust. A dehumidifier can help to keep your home’s humidity under control and reduce the moisture in the air. This can have beneficial effects for those afflicted with hay fever, asthma, and other allergens.
6) Prevent your pets from spreading the pollen
We all love our furry friends but, unfortunately, they can contribute to our hay fever symptoms. If your pets venture outside then there’s a chance that their paw pads and fur can collect pollen spores and bring them into the house. To avoid them trailing pollen throughout your home consider having pet-free zones. This will give you space for respite if you feel your hay fever symptoms start to play up. Similarly, try to wipe down your pet's paws after they’ve spent some time outdoors.
Check out our blog for further advice on cleaning your home and controlling allergens.